Truesee's Daily Wonder

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Friday, May 8, 2009


Boy finds $8,160 in backpack and returns it

Victim's sister grateful young boy returned backpack full of money


Foster's Daily Democrat
Friday, May 8, 2009

DOVER — Arie Johnston, the Garrison School student with eyes for spotting money, was just what Parvin Jannati needed, her sister says.

Parvaneh Anderson filled in some of the details behind 10-year-old Arie's discovery Saturday when he was in Alton helping his grandmother with the town cleanup and spotted a fire-damaged bag containing $8,160.

What's more, she said Arie's good deed to return the money may undo a lifetime of tough luck for Jannati, 54, a native of Tehran, Iran, who has experienced "continuous bad luck throughout her life."

Things only got tougher last October when a fire at her 370 Main St. apartment dwelling in Alton left her with nothing.

"She was not in a good condition," Anderson said Thursday night. "She had a breakdown" and, with her belongings gone, she had to leave town because she "couldn't take it anymore."

She did have, however, the money and her passports in a backpack. That is, until the power of a fire hose got hold of it. At least that's the reason Anderson said she got from police when she asked how the bag could have ended up across the street, where it apparently spent the winter.

Wondering why someone was keeping that much cash in a bag?

Well the money came from an insurance claim after Anderson borrowed her sister's car a few months before the fire — just in time for a strong storm to blow through and send a tree crashing down on top of it.

The car was totaled, Anderson said, and "my insurance paid for it because it was my responsibility. Insurance gave her a check and she cashed it."

Jannati was planning to give some of the money to her sons — and she's not one for banks, Anderson said.

"She's from the old country," Anderson said.

Jannati's been in Nevada visiting their mother and brother, but she knows about the discovery. "She couldn't believe it," Anderson said. "If you knew her life this is something good that has happened to her."

There have been car accidents and surgeries, and it's gotten to the point that "anything she touches something bad happens — to the point we want to stay away from her," Anderson said, laughing.

Anderson said the family was grateful for Arie.

"I want to meet with him in person and reward him and give him a thank-you card with money," she said.

As for what Jannati plans to do with her money? "Pay the credit cards," her sister said.

Arie said he never thought of pocketing the money. He let his grandmother, Nancy Merrill, know what he found and the rest is history.

"I hope my kids do the same thing," Anderson said.

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